Borrowing music sets

The collection includes multiple copies of vocal scores for the use of choirs and complete sets of orchestral parts (usually with Full Score) for loan to orchestras.

The collection of orchestral sets covers most of the standard classical repertoire. The collection includes orchestral parts to many of the vocal sets held by the library as well as arrangements suitable for use in schools. Sets normally contain a full score, if available, multiple string parts plus one copy of every other part.

The collection of vocal sets includes smaller scale part songs and anthems as well as large scale choral works including light opera and musicals. The library does not stock sets of grand opera scores. There are normally between 35 and 40 copies in a set.

Before you can borrow anything from our music collection, you need to register your society with us. Email us at with:

  • the name of your society
  • your contact details
  • proof of your society (e.g. a programme, letterhead, registered charity number or web address)
  • the name of the person we should contact (this person must be over 18 and will be responsible for the safe keeping and return of all items on loan to the society, and for any charges incurred during the loan period).

Once your society is registered you will receive a library membership card which should be quoted on all correspondence.


Large vocal and orchestral sets

  • Kent music societies £4 per month
  • Out of Kent societies £10 per month

Small vocal and orchestral sets (less than 5 minutes in length)

  • Kent music societies £2 per month
  • Out of Kent societies £5 per month

Prior to the loan, invoices will be issued for the loan fee and postal charges.

If at least 1 month’s notice is given of a change in loan period, we may be able to reduce/refund some of the hire fees, dependant on individual circumstances.

We require payment of the invoices to be made before we are able to send the sets out for collection. Payment must be made directly with the Music and Drama Service and not at the collection point.

Order a set

Up to 12 sets may be borrowed at any one time.

Order a music set

Ordering from other libraries

We are pleased to offer to Kent societies the facility of inter-library Loans. If you cannot find the piece you are looking for in our catalogue, or require additional copies to those available from Kent or our set is on loan, for a non-refundable fee of £4.00 we can apply to 11 partner Library Authorities within the South East. This service is not available to societies based outside Kent – these societies should submit interlibrary loan requests through their own library authority.

You can reserve a set up to 12 months in advance of the date required (inter library loan sets can be reserved up to 6 months in advance). Please allow up to 30 working days for your order to be processed.

How to reserve

To order a music set, please complete our online reservation form with details of the:

  • composer
  • title
  • and edition or arrangement where appropriate.

In the case of vocal works it should be made clear whether it is the vocal scores or orchestral parts which are required (these are treated as two separate sets). The society membership number must be quoted on the request and the name and address of the authorised officer given.

The date when the set is required should also be given, that is, the date of the commencement of the loan rather than the date of performance.  Sets are issued in whole calendar months.

If you have any queries email or call 03000 41 31 31.

Sets may be delivered to any Kent library for collection or posted direct to a society that is based outside of Kent (upon payment of the postage).

Upon receipt of sets

It is important that each set is checked by the society upon receipt to ensure that all the parts are present.  Any discrepancies must be reported to the Music and Drama Service within 48 hours of receipt, otherwise the society may be charged for the missing parts.

The number of parts in any set is indicated either on the checklist for orchestral sets or on the master copy date label in all other sets. (The master copy is indicated by a yellow band in the larger vocal sets.) It is recommended that the nominated representative should retain this copy as it contains the barcode, item number and quantity of parts by which the whole set is identified.

Each set will indicate the date due back. The master copy date label will contain this information for vocal sets. Orchestral sets contain a combined checklist and date label showing the date of return and number of parts.

Sets may be returned to any Kent library or by post. All sets returned will be discharged from the society ticket and checked to ensure that no parts are missing.  A receipt indicating the date of return will be issued, and will indicate that either the set was complete, or that there were parts missing. If there were parts missing we will notify the society within five working days of receipt of the set.

Late return of sets

Sets returned after the due date will be treated as unofficial renewals and will incur an additional charge.

Missing parts

Any society returning an incomplete set will be notified of the discrepancy and a period of 28 days from the date of notification will be allowed for the missing parts to be replaced or returned. If the missing parts are not recovered within 28 days an invoice covering the replacement cost plus an administrative charge of £10.00 will be issued. Missing parts are charged at the cost of replacement where possible.  For vocal sets where new parts are unavailable to buy there is a charge of £10.00 per item.  For orchestral sets where new parts are unavailable to buy, it is sometimes necessary for a new set to be purchased – in this case you would be charged the full cost of the replacement set.  If a new set is also unavailable to buy a charge of the value of the set will be made.

Marking of sets

Any pencil markings should be erased before the set is returned. Permanent markings constitute damage to the set and in such cases the full replacement cost of the part will be charged, plus a £10.00 administration fee.  Where “numbering labels” are used on our sets and not removed before returning to us a £10.00 administration fee is also charged.

Requests for the renewal of sets should be made by contacting The following details should be given for each set:

  • library card number (D0…)
  • barcode number (C15…)
  • composer
  • title.

Requests for renewal will be denied if a set has been reserved by another society.

If a renewal is given the society will be informed of the new due date and given details of any additional loan charge which is payable. These charges should be paid within 7 days of the notification of renewal dates. A receipt will be sent to acknowledge payment.